Warhammer 40,000 started its 10th Edition on a confident - if predictable - foot when it released a massive flagship box for its sci-fi miniatures wargame that sold out pre-orders in a matter of hours and now won’t be found anywhere but physical hobby shops. The rest of us will have to console ourselves with the core books that publisher Games Workshop revealed on June 18th.
As detailed on the Warhammer Community blog, the 10th Edition Core Book contains more than just the free rules for Warhammer 40k’s impressive but slightly conflicted future direction. The hardcover tome’s 280 pages will also delve into the lore and history of a far future that seems, as the name of the game implies, to be constantly tearing itself apart in one galaxy-engulfing conflict or another.
Separate sections will outline all of the factions that comprise Warhammer 40k’s universe, including gallery shots of the miniatures representing those various groups. This will be particularly helpful for newcomers or those switching over from the fantasy-bent Warhammer: Age of Sigmar who might not be able to tell the difference between all those Adeptus whatevers - and why do Space Marines come in so many different colours, anyhow?
The core book will also contain rules on Combat Patrol, a new mode designed to be more friendly to novice commanders or those with less time to play full scale battles. Combat Patrol boxes, which are coming sometime later this year, will come packaged with an already balanced army composed of various units within a given faction. Players won’t have to muck about with balancing point values and can instead dump the contents of a Combat Patrol box on some terrain and start rolling dice.
Anyone who managed to secure a copy of Leviathan essentially owns a Combat Patrol for both the Tyranid’s Vardenghast Swarm and Strike Force Octavius on the Space Marines’ side. There are some extra models filling out that hefty price point, but the contents can easily be pared down to allow two players to tackle the six Combat Patrol missions included in the core book.
The second announced, Warhammer 40k: Tyrannic War, uses its 184 pages to detail the updated rules to Crusade, this game’s answer to longform campaign creation via a series of narratively-linked engagements. Those who invest the considerable time and energy are rewarded with units that can level up (or die for good, Fire Emblem style), hone specific skills and be part of some very cool emergent storytelling.
Crusade’s emphasis on narrative means matches tend to favour the rule of cool engagements over the most tactically smart or cutthroat decision. Tyrannic War focuses on the fourth of such conflicts as the Galactic West finds itself under siege by Tyranid Hive Fleets invading from the dark spaces beyond civilisation. That story - or at least the start of it - will be told through connected missions in this book
All of this information was included in the massive tome that came with Leviathan, which makes it all the more disappointing that Games Workshop didn’t push harder for its premiere 10th Edition big box to have more than rough 24 hours of availability. It might sound as though I’m sore about it selling out - and I am - but the larger sticking point is the publisher missing a golden opportunity to give up its penchant for producing false scarcity.
Warhammer 40,000’s new edition has been marketed as sanding off the rough edges for newcomers, seeming as though Games Workshop wanted to build as many onramps for those of us who always pass the big wall of Warhammer plastic in the hobby shop but never buy in. Instead, this lack of long term support and focus on huge, splashy pre-orders that go to the few thousand most dedicated players feels all too familiar. At least the rest of us will have piecemeal books and miniature boxes slowly doled out over the next few years to console us.